Planting garlic

Tue. Sep. 19, 2017

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Planting garlic

If you love garlic so much that you could ward off vampires just from the scent wafting off your body, then you might consider planting it!   I could qualify as I use a LOT for my roasted tomatoes.  I just love the smell.  Although I have been told I might also ward off a loved one!  For zone 4 folks, the beginning of October is a good time.  If you live in Zone 3 then a couple of weeks earlier is sufficient.

Garlic 'Early Italian' softneck

Garlic ‘Early Italian’ softneck

There are a LOT of varieties of garlic but the best type is called a ‘Hardneck’ variety.  They tolerate our climate conditions much better than the softneck type.

Garlic - rocambole hardneck

Garlic – rocambole hardneck

Garlic grows best in sandy loam soil due to it’s texture and draining capabilities.  Make sure you add lots of organic matter to your planting area.  Your soil should be loose and fluffy for optimum growing.  A raised bed is a great option.  Plant cloves pointy side up about 6 inches apart in rows about 24 inches apart.  Three to 5 weeks after planting, mulch your garlic bed with a 3 to 4 inch layer of straw to keep temperatures more moderate.

garlic planting

garlic planting

The cold isn’t the problem its the ground-heaving that can push the bulb out of the ground that’s the problem.  You can remove the mulch in April.  Watering is most critical from mid May through June as garlic has a shallow root system.  For hardneck varieties, it’s recommended that you remove what’s called the scape once it starts to curl.   Your garlic clove yield is reduced by 20 to 30 percent if you leave the scape on.   In some countries it’s considered a delicacy and used in stir fries, salads and steamed veggies.  Garlic scape Recipes

Garlic scape

Garlic scape

PS Garlic is technically a vegetable!  Additionally, when chopping your garlic, the more you slice, pound, grate or chop your garlic, the more of a compound, called allicin, is released. Therefore, if you grate your garlic using the small holes on a box grater, or purée it in a food processor, your garlic will be much more pungent than if it were sliced. This is useful to keep in mind when you’re thinking of saving time by tossing those garlic cloves into the Cuisinart.  A recipe for Roasted Garlic

Garlic parts!

Garlic parts!